Monday, August 29, 2011

a thought on family

In the middle of Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird", sharing her two cents about writing groups and how good they can be, she told of a group of 4 writers who got together.

They've gone from being four tense, slightly conceited,
lonely people who wanted to write
to one of those weird little families we fashion
out of whoever's around us.
They're very tender with one another.
They all look a lot less slick and cool than they did
when they were in my class,
because helping each other has made their hearts bigger.
(p. 159, emphasis mine)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

poem: contemplative girl seeks autumn

cinnamon sprinkle, anticipation of the autumn
blueberries baked, almost feel the cool breezes
feeding a stereotype, contemplative coffee-sipper
stare out the window
to round up my thoughts

it must mean more to feel the fingers on the page
to keep the printing press oiled
some resemblance of human
this you say as you rush, blenders and mixers
is this your art or your work?

watch their exchange, the naming of names
more than a game - this is home, this is space

soy and agave and dark and light roasts
swishing and washing and pouring
"extra-special order", we call it with grace
though extra, we need you to pay

these sounds and routines and rushing around
give rhythm to a mind that's been scattered 'round
your chaos is my put-togetherness
your ignoring, my attention paid

a day to gather, and dream of the months
when scarves will wrap 'round
eyes will shut tight
against winds and cold; I anticipate.

your banters and love and schedules
will continue on, uninterrupted
and I will come seeking and finding
familiarity in your names and home;
maybe, to me, you'll say, "welcome home".

Friday, August 19, 2011

Andrew Peterson: why we listen

And I love to watch you listen to the music
because you sing to me a music of your own
as I cast out all these lines
so afraid that I will find I am alone, all alone
(Andrew Peterson, 'Many Roads')

Some listen for good guitar riffs, others pick out great lines, lyrics that are poetry. Some need perfect vocals, while others feel at home when he forgets the lines to his own songs.

Even from the back of the room - a room without much character, color, warmth - we were there, we were on our way to Alaska, just weeks away from cancer's sweep of death, fishing poles tied up in the back with our beloved in the front seat, by our side until the end of the road. We knew the beauty and sometimes-perceived-defeat of marriage, dancing in fields of land mines; we imagined the despair of Hosea's calling after his unfaithful wife.

Was it just the good storytelling? Could anyone have told the same stories, taken us on the same journey? Or was it the humanness of our Brother who did, indeed, forget the lines to his own song, only to catch the lyrics in his inner ear monitor (thanks to his road manager) just in time to keep us on our toes, but still please our ears.

Did we come for perfection? Or did we come to be included in the story, to be given glimpses of life lived, put to a melody?

Before we ended this sweet night, we filled up the room:

After the last tear falls...
there is love; love, love, love...

We'll see how the tears that have fallen
were caught in the palms
of the Giver of love and the Lover of all
and we'll look back on these tears as old tales.
(AP, "After the last tear falls")

Thursday, August 18, 2011

housemates: attempts at the ordered life

Dinner ready at 6:30? Eh, let's shoot for 8 instead. Meeting at 8:30? We'll get around to it by 9 or so. Let's talk about order: chore lists minus the legalism; a hospitable dinner table; lessons in composting and recycling {creation care, we do seek}; Bonhoeffer's words on "life together".

We've arrived at a place with 5 people, spread between 3 bedrooms, with all shades of personality, organization (or lack thereof - I speak of myself here), and preferred flavor of juice. The house isn't settled, but our souls are on our way. Our patterns and rhythms aren't completely learned, but we already know who likes to shower in mornings, middays, or evenings. Our moods will shift, but so will our ability to extend grace - hopefully, for the better.

This is our attempt at the ordered life.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

juice only, please! // Day 1

Celery, cucumber, spinach, green apple, lemon... or, you can just call it today's lunch. In juice form. I'm serious.

Apparently, this fad is going around right now, this juice-fasting business. Well, we signed right on up, and here we are, drinking our dinner.

How am I feeling? Slightly depressed, mad, hungry, blah, blah, blah. So, why am I doing this? That's a good question, one I couldn't answer to a friend at the coffee pot today (coffee which I had to smell and not partake in). But I do know the reason: to get rid of some crap in my body. To be disciplined for once. To quit the out-of-control love I have for stuffing my face (I said it out loud!)

And this is Day 1.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Reading: "Bird by Bird" [Anne Lamott]

From the introduction:

That thing you had to force yourself to do - the actual
act of writing - turns out to be the best part. It's like discovering
that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine,
what you really needed was the tea ceremony.
The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.
(Anne Lamott, "Bird byBird", emphasis mine)

If you spend any significant amount of time with me, you know that I love to write - my journal goes with me everywhere - and I'm giving myself more and more space to do it these days. Songwriting discipline, more frequent blogging, etc. But spend too much time writing, and I can easily convince myself it's stupid and meaningless.

Thank goodness for this introduction!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Memphis is not Vermont

...and never am I more aware of this than when it is 106 degrees Fahrenheit with a 121 heat index. And so, I will post some pictures to remind me of dear Vermont. [I still love you, Memphis.]

[baby Niyah and Auntie Abbye]

[statue of Jesus, welcoming people to this chapel built in the, seemingly, middle of nowhere. A popular stop for cyclists, as it is in the middle of a often-used trail.]

[Island Pond, VT]

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

our living room has a couch now: on selflessness

When you reach a certain point in marriage and still don't have children, you begin to hear more and more conversations about how children teach you how selfish you are, how they expose so many of your dark places. And I believe this is true (trust me, I knew my friends before they had children! Heh!)

But since we don't have children, this begs the question: are we doomed for endless days of selfishness until we have children? Are we not fully loving and fulfilling the potential God has for us? Why does marriage exist - solely for procreation and "learning how to be unselfish 101"?

We've thought about this; we talked about it. And now, here's a picture of a couch.

Right at 48 hours ago, we didn't have a couch in our living room. In fact, we haven't had a couch in this room since dear Ty-pod moved out. But now, as new friends are here to stay (for now, at least), we've got a couch! And this couch means something important to me.

It means that we're challenged to share our space, to make room for someone else's furniture (and conversations and food preferences and shower schedule and needs). But one of the perks is that we get to enjoy this awesome couch and their good cooking skills and their knack for making us laugh, like, all the time.

We, in our own context, are learning what it means to be a little less selfish. We don't have children, but we do have Family.

[and now, a picture of a baby who ate too much cake]